GPs to give child injuries advice under NICE plans

GPs would be asked to give injury-avoidance advice to children who regularly attend A&E under NICE plans to cut thousands of accidents each year.

Draft guidance from NICE has suggested GPs should be alerted to children likely to benefit from injuries advice and home safety assessments.

The plans form part of draft guidance that aims to reduce the number of unintentional injuries in children, many of which NICE believes are preventable.

Figures show that each year over two million children and young people in the UK visit A&E departments with an unintentional injury. In 2008 in England and Wales, 208 children aged 14 or under died from unintentional injuries.

Under the plans, healthcare professionals would be alerted when a child repeatedly attends an emergency department for treatment for an unintentional injury.

GPs would be asked to advise how such injuries could be best avoided and whether a home safety assessment should be carried out.

NICE proposed a range of measures to reduce these injuries, including a ‘national injuries surveillance resource'.

This service, one of 36 recommendations in the draft, would cover ‘all populations and injuries' to monitor injury risks and effects of prevention measures.

A child injury prevention coordinator would also be appointed in each local area to oversee safety schemes.

Also under consideration are home safety assessments for all families with young children and demands for permanent safety equipment such as fire alarms in all social and rented housing.

Mike Kelly, public health excellence centre director, NICE said: ‘It's a normal part of growing up for children to sometimes hurt themselves in day-to-day life, but we also need to prevent serious injuries from happening.

‘Our aim is not to promote a nanny state where children can't have fun or lead normal lives, but there is an important balance to be struck between good and bad risks.'

Interested parties can comment on the 87-page guidance until 15 June. Final guidance is expected in November 2010.

The draft is the first of five pieces of NICE guidance about injuries avoidance currently in development.

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